Driving without a seatbelt is dangerous and illegal in Florida. But nobody’s perfect, and sometimes we forget to do the right thing. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you were not wearing your seatbelt, you may think that you’re unable to file a claim for your injuries. However, in Florida, all hope is not lost if you failed to wear your seatbelt.
Seat Belt Defense
If you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of your accident, you still have the right to pursue a settlement from an at-fault driver. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to prove that your injuries were more severe than they could have been because you were not wearing your seatbelt. However, even if an insurance company succeeds with this seat belt defense, it should not completely prevent you from recovering compensation. This defense may only reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
Florida is a “pure” comparative negligence state. This means that your own negligence does not bar recovery for your injuries even if you were partly responsible for them. Even if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt and another driver was at fault for the accident, you may still pursue compensation from them. Your failure to wear a seatbelt will reduce the amount of compensation you may receive based on how much it is determined that this failure caused your injuries.
For example, if it is determined that the other driver was negligently speeding and caused the accident, that driver may still be held liable. If it is determined that your damages add up to $50,000 and you are found to be 20% responsible for your injuries because you did not wear your seatbelt, the amount of your recovery will be reduced by this percentage. Therefore, you may only recover $40,000 for your injuries instead of the full $50,000.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident and you were not wearing a seatbelt, your claim may be complicated. That’s why it may be important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side. The lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experienced helping Floridians injured in car accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 today to set up your free consultation.